"In the broadest terms, the Tea Party freshmen have been victorious in changing the national conversation into an almost singular discussion of debt, and creating a consensus that America must do more to live within its means. But it is still not clear whether they will translate their passion into long-term legislative and political accomplishments — or overreach and undercut their credibility and influence.
"“Zealots are great on the campaign trail,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton, “but a huge problem when it comes to governance. They often don’t believe in the art of a deal, even with their allies. If they are not tamed, they can eat their own party alive.”"
From the NY Times, July 30, 2011
According to this "the Tea Party freshman have been victorious" at least with regard to "the national conversation" but it is unclear that this "victory" will "translate" into successful governance. And according to Professor Zelizer this reveals the limitations of "zealots" who, apparently, don't know "the art of a deal."
Now, I would like to make a suggestion: Rather than focus on the limitations of the alleged zealots, the Tea Partiers, focus on the limitations of those who are the powers that be within the "two" parties, those allegedly moderate types like Boehner and Obama who, apparently, know "the art of a deal." It just could be that those being labelled here "zealots" are just those who are more concerned with the fate of their country than those "non-zealots" who are more concerned with their perpetuating their own power than with governing in a responsible fashion. Or, to put this differently, maybe those labelled "zealots" are actually more interested in responsible governing than the "moderates."
And this would make for an interesting conversation.